Sno-Cone Syrup

Yes, I do have a machine that shaves ice. I mean, why wouldn’t I? Everyone loves sno-cones. I used to buy big bottles of syrup at the store (due to occasional laziness) and finally asked myself how hard could it really be to make some at home? The answer? It’s not hard at all and the flavors are so much more bold. I keep a few different ones on hand in squeeze bottles, ready to make delicious sno-cones at a moment’s notice.

Here’s the ice shaver that I use. It’s small, fairly cheap, and has held up for years. Just add a few ice cubes and turn it on and it starts shooting out perfectly shaved ice in an instant.

5 from 1 reviews
Sno-Cone Syrup
Author: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups sugar (you can substitute Splenda or the equivalent)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (0.13 ounce) your favoriteKool-Aid flavor packet
Instructions
  1. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat and let boil for 1 minute, stirring.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the flavor packet.
  4. Allow to cool in the fridge for 1 hour before using.

BBQ Pulled Pork Poutine

I’m a big fan of poutine. It’s definitely one of my favorite dishes. I’ve made it the classic way (fries, curds, gravy) many times. This time I thought I’d try a totally different approach to poutine and top the fries with smoked BBQ pulled pork instead. A handful or two of curds and a pickle garnish and I was in poutine heaven again.
There’s really no way to improve on this BBQ pulled pork poutine. Every bite was flat-out delicious. I used spicy hot pepper cheese curds, but I think any flavor (other maybe curds infused with herbs such as rosemary or thyme) would work perfectly.

As an aside, on the off chance that you have a little leftover pulled pork and curds, make a few baked potatoes and top them with the meat and cheese. You won’t be sorry.

5 from 1 reviews
BBQ Pulled Pork Poutine
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
 
The amounts below can be changed to suit your tastes. I didn't measure anything very closely, I just went for it. You can't mess this up so don't worry about amounts so much.
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds frozen French fries, cooked per package instructions (or use fresh-made)
  • 1 cup BBQ pulled pork, warmed
  • 1 cup cheese curds (I used hot pepper curds)
  • 1 1/2 pounds frozen French fries, cooked per package instructions (or use fresh-made)
  • 1 cup bread-and-butter pickles, diced
Instructions
  1. Spread the fries out onto a large platter.
  2. Add pulled pork and cheese curds.
  3. Drizzle with the BBQ sauce and garnish with the pickles.
  4. Devour.

Cajun Shrimp-Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Wow, talk about amazingly good. The heck with the main dish, just load me up on some of these Cajun shrimp-stuffed poblano peppers. A slight kick of heat, perfect shrimp and creamy melted cheese. What’s not to love?
cajun-shrimp-stuffed-pobalno-peppersYou could use green bell peppers instead, if you want. I love poblanos because they are a little spicier than a bell pepper without just completely drowning out a dish in heat.

For extra kick, substitute shredded pepper jack cheese for the feta and mozzarella and add a few diced roasted jalapenos into the shrimp mixture. That’ll definitely liven up the party.

Cajun Shrimp-Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 large poblano peppers
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, raw or pre-cooked, 24-30 count, peeled, deveined
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (if you are using raw shrimp)
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 cup ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • Cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Note: You can use pre-cooked shrimp if you desire. Just toss the shrimp with the Cajun seasoning and do not cook.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  3. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove any stems or seeds.
  4. If using cooked shrimp, toss the shrimp with the Cajun seasoning in a large bowl.
  5. If using raw shrimp, heat the oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Add the shrimp, sprinkle with the seasoning, and cook, turning, until done, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  6. Add the cheeses, basil and hot sauce to the shrimp Stir.
  7. Transfer shrimp mixture to the poblanos and place on a baking dish.
  8. Place in oven and bake 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the peppers are softened.
  9. Serve garnished with chopped cilantro.

 

Black Forest Cheesecake

I can’t bake, and I’m not afraid to admit it. But that doesn’t mean I can’t throw together a simple delicious pie or cheesecake. I haven’t yet graduated to making my own crusts, so I ‘cheat’ and grab those pre-made ones from the store. This Black Forest cheesecake came out fantastic despite my lack of baking skills. A nice chocolatey flavor, perfect texture, and topped with yummy tart cherries. Dangerously good.
What I do differently next time I make a Black Forest cheesecake? Nothing. Not a thing. Well, ok, I might double the recipe and make four cheesecakes instead of just two. I’ll be taking a few of these to our next family holiday get-together, that’s for sure!

Black Forest Cheesecake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 pies
 
Ingredients
  • 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted per package instructions
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 pre-made Oreo or chocolate pie crusts
  • 2-3 cups Cool Whip topping, thawed
  • 1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 325º F.
  2. Place cream cheese, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of a mixer and mix until blended.
  3. Add the sour cream and chocolate and blend.
  4. With the blender running, add the eggs one at a time until blended.
  5. Divide mixture between the two pie pans (they'll be pretty full) and bake 40 minutes or until the center is almost set.
  6. Let cool completely then refrigerate for 4 hours.
  7. Spread Cool Whip over tops of cheesecakes.
  8. Serve slices with a spoonful or two of the cherry pie filling.

 

Beef Summer Sausage

Well, hot diggity dog! Get me some cheese and crackers and fast! This beef summer sausage came out tasting fantastic! Perfect texture, too. Boy, I could not have been happier with it. Great beefy flavor with a hint of smoke and pepper.
I made my beef summer sausage ‘log’ a bit bigger round than I had thought, close to 2 inches. Not that that was a bad thing, but next time I’ll shoot for a size that fits more perfectly onto a cracker. A little meaty overhang isn’t a bad thing, mind you.

And I might add a bit of heat next time. I’m thinking that a few good sized pinches of red pepper flake ought to do it!

Beef Summer Sausage
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 pound
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds 95/5 ground beef (the leanest you can find, preferably)
  • 2 tablespoons Morton's Tender Quick
  • 1 tablespoon Liquid Smoke
  • 1 teaspoon smoked black pepper (or use regular black pepper and add a bit more Liquid Smoke)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
Instructions
  1. Place the meat into a bowl and add the Tender Quick. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, start by preheating your oven to 225 F.
  3. Add the Liquid Smoke, pepper and garlic salt to the meat and mix very well.
  4. Divide the meat into two equally-sized halves and form into logs.
  5. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 4 hours.
  6. Remove and let cool completely before slicing thin and serving with sliced cheeses and crackers.

Salami Chips with White Bean Dip

Salami chips are a dangerously tempting thing. Crunchy meaty yummy. It’d be difficult to make them even better, but you can by serving them with a roasted garlic white bean dip. The creamy dip (almost like a hummus) compliments the salami perfectly. This makes for a great easy appetizer or snack for the big game.
Salami Chips with White Bean DipMost grocery stores sell a variety of different styles of salami. Grab a few different flavors and mix them up on the plate. Many salamis have a very thick casing, which not all people enjoy. You can remove it quite easily after slicing the salami thin.

Salami Chips with White Bean Dip
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
For the white bean dip
  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 (14 ounce) can Great Northern white beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons warm water
For the salami chips
  • 4 ounces salami, sliced thin
Instructions
For the white bean dip
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
  2. Cut top off the garlic and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil.
  3. Wrap in foil and place in oven for 40-45 minutes or until soft.
  4. Remove and let cool slightly.
  5. Squeeze garlic from the cloves and add to a food processor.
  6. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. Add more water if the mixture is too thick.
  7. Serve with the salami chips.
For the salami chips
  1. Place salami on a parchment-lined baking sheet or on a rack over a baking sheet.
  2. Bake for 10-15 or until starting to crisp and curl at the edges.
  3. Remove and let cool and crisp more.

 

Homemade Gummy Bears

Oh my, how much fun were these homemade gummy bears to make and eat! They have the exact same texture as store-bought gummy bears and are absolutely packed with flavor. Some gummy bears were ‘normal’, and for some I added a bit of citric acid to make them nice and sour!
homemade-gummy-bearsI purchased a few gummy bear molds from Amazon (you can see the link below the recipe). The molds came with droppers that made filling the molds much easier. You’ll still make a little mess, get a bit of the gelatin on top of the molds and not in them, but that’s ok. They clean up easily.

The only think you have to watch for when filling the molds is air bubbles. You don’t want bubbles to form or your candies won’t look as fancy. They’ll still taste great, of course, but you want them to be pretty too! When filling the dropper make sure you get only liquid and not air or any of the bubbles that tends to form on top. If you do get bubbles I’ve found that you can usually pop them using the tip of the dropper.

The citric acid adds just a bit of sour flavor, but the candies will not be overly sour. I started by adding 1/8 teaspoon of citric acid and found it barely detectable. A 1/4 teaspoon amount is about right for me, but if you want your gummy bears super sour you might want to try 1/2 teaspoon. Citric acid can be found in your grocery store’s canning section.

Here’s how one of my molds looked after being filled. The recipe below will make 120 (more or less) gummy bears so be sure you have room in your freezer for 3 of the molds before starting.

homemade-gummy-bears-mold

Homemade Gummy Bears
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 120 gummy bears
 
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 (7 gram) packages (or 2 tablespoons) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 (85 gram) package flavored gelatin, regular or sugar-free
  • 1/4 teaspoon citric acid (optional, for making sour gummy bears)
Instructions
  1. Place the water in a small saucepan.
  2. Add the gelatin packages and citric acid if using. Set heat to medium low and stir.
  3. Continue heating for 15 minutes, stirring slowly to ensure that the gelatin dissolves.
  4. Use a large eyedropper to transfer the liquid to the silicon molds.
  5. Place in freezer for 10-15 minutes or until the gelatin has set.
  6. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Cola Milkshake

Coke in a milkshake??? That’s what I was thinking. But then I saw the light. This cola milkshake was fantastic. Easy, of course. The soda adds a malt-like flavor, which I didn’t expect. I guarantee that this milkshake disappeared a lot quicker than it took to make.
Cola MilkshakeI used decaf diet Coke. You don’t want a strong-flavored soda that would overwhelm the ice cream flavors. Regular Coke would work perfectly as well. This cola milkshake is somewhat reminiscent of a float, but with all the flavors in a creamy shake.

Cola Milkshake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 pint
 
Serves 2
Ingredients
  • 4 scoops (1 1/3 cups) vanilla ice cream
  • 2 scoops (2/3 cup) chocolate ice cream
  • 1/2 cup Coke, cold (I used Diet decaf Coke)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into a blender and process until somewhat smooth but still a little chunky.